Is an Open Relationship Right for Me?
In the last couple hundred years, the belief, at least in the western world, is that two people meet, fall in love, fulfill all of each other’s needs and live happily ever after as soul-mates. However, the 50% divorce rate over the last half century, and infidelity rates falling between 40-70%, leads some to question whether monogamy is the best relationship style for everyone.
If you are asking if an open relationship is right for you, you are likely considering alternative relationship styles such as polyamory, swinger, or other non-monogamous relationships. There are a few in the field of sexology who are beginning to consider the concept of sexual personality types. This theory believes there are unique sexual personality types one can be born with, or that people develop. Right now, three categories can be identified which include monosexual, polysexual and adapter.
You will likely relate to one of these types, and that will help you to determine if an open relationship is right for you or not. Of course, there isn’t always a cut and dry answer, so speaking to a sex therapist who believes in healthy sexuality (not shame based), can help you sort out your emotions in this area.
Monosexual Personality Type
Monosexual types are typically best suited to exclusive sexual and romantic relationships, such as traditional monogamy. Monogamy is the most socially promoted form of relationship, and few examples of successful open relationships exist for us in the media, our friends, or our families. Many of us find ourselves in monogamous relationships out of expectation or pressure, but it isn’t the right fit.
When paired with another monosexual partner, this relationship can work well sexually.
Polysexual Personality Type
A polysexual person is most comfortable in some form or variety of open relationship. The range and definition of open relationships can vary greatly. Polysexuals typically will attempt to meet the social expectations of monogamy but find themselves feeling confined by and/or straying outside of the expected boundaries. Consensual non-monogamy usually allows them to flourish.
An exception to this however are those who cheat whether in a monogamous or open relationship. Some people enjoy the thrill or taboo of hiding something from their partner, and an open relationship doesn’t satisfy that.
Adapter Personality Type
There are a few people who are able to be happy in either a monogamous or open relationship, without feeling resentful. They may need certain boundaries around either relationship, such as allowing a polysexual partner to have other partners while they choose monogamy, or visa versa.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Since this is a relatively new theory in the field of sexology, a scientific assessment test isn’t yet available. Here are some questions to consider, however to help you determine what personality you may fit into.
When you look at your past relationships, have they always been monogamous and was that an assumed expectation? Were you comfortable with that or not?
How would you have felt about your partner having other sexual partners?
If you did engage in any open relationship situations? Did you require being drunk or high in order to do it?
If you have been in both exclusive and open relationships, were you happy in both? Would the relationship style of your next relationship matter to you? Would either style be comfortable to you or would you prefer one over the other?
Sometimes the answers to these questions will open up new questions for you and you may be prompted to dive in deeper with a trusted sex therapist. If I can be of support in this area, please contact me for a free consultation.